Posts Tagged synod

Encuentros: Learning from 50 years of synodal experience — if we’ve been paying attention / National Catholic Reporter

‘Lack of awareness about the National Encuentros of Hispanic/Latino Ministry (aka ‘Encuentros’), and the processes of ecclesial discernment and collaboration at their core, remains a major gap in ministerial formation as well as in our shared understanding of what it means to be American Catholics.”

National Catholic Reporter

“Catholics in the United States have been engaged for 50 years in groundbreaking processes of synodal discernment, dialogue and decision-making. Some readers may ask: How is this possible? Isn’t synodality a novelty, a trend distinctive of Pope Francis’ pontificate? How come I never heard of this in my parish, diocese, Catholic school, seminary or college?

“If you asked any of these or similar questions, chances are that you are unaware of some of the most exciting — and yes, synodal — conversations about ecclesial life, mission and evangelization among Hispanic Catholics, who constitute nearly 45% of the Catholic population in the U.S.

“Lack of awareness about the National Encuentros of Hispanic/Latino Ministry (aka “Encuentros”), and the processes of ecclesial discernment and collaboration at their core, remains a major gap in ministerial formation as well as in our shared understanding of what it means to be American Catholics.

“Perhaps this is the crux of the matter. For far too long, Hispanics have been perceived as ‘foreigners,’ ‘aliens,’ ‘visitors,’ and not as constitutive members of our Catholic community.

“We continue to assume that to be Euro-American, racially white and English-speaking are the essential marks of American Catholicism. In certain circles, one could add middle-class and college-educated to that list. Consequently, whatever happens in the faith communities that do not match such identifiers fails to be perceived or treated as really American Catholic.”

By Hosffman Ospino, National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Speak Boldly, Listen Carefully: Inside the Synod / Commonweal

There is confidence, too, that the people of God will, over time, hear the call to assemble. And when they do, that they will speak boldly and listen carefully, and that somehow, in spite of all the resistances and obstacles, not another but a different Church will come forth. Adsumus Sancte Spiritus.

Commonweal

“At the start of July, in preparation for what has become known as the ‘Synod on Synodality,’ the general secretariat of the synod’s spirituality commission convened a meeting of the heads of religious orders in Rome. In the big aula of the Jesuit Curia on the Borgo Santo Spirito were gathered the superiors general of the Jesuits, the Marists, the Claretians, the Eudists, and the Salesians, along with the master of the Dominicans, the vicar general of the Augustinians, the Benedictine abbot primate general, and so on, together with the presidents of the umbrella bodies of male and female religious across the Catholic world, whether contemplative, apostolic, or charismatic. The point of the gathering? To share experiences from the many different traditions of synodality and collective discernment. Or, in simpler language, to find out how the different orders make decisions, elect leaders, and hear the Holy Spirit nudging them to change.

“While in Rome for the October 9–10 launch of the synod, I heard about this gathering from a number of those who were involved, among them the woman who has become the synod’s face and voice. What the meeting showed, the French Xaverian Sr. Nathalie Becquart told me, was how each of the orders had developed different mechanisms of deliberating as a body and reaching consensus—whether classically, in the form of the “General Chapters” of monasteries and friaries, or as exercises in group discernment as developed, say, by the Jesuits. Many religious institutes had regular assemblies, others engaged in consultations prior to decision-making, while some combined consultative and deliberative practices. The diversity of methods and traditions was tremendous. Yet alongside the clear lines of authority and obedience in most religious orders were two elements they all seemed to have in common.

“The first is that discernment and decision-making are the business of the whole body, not just of the few entrusted with governance. In his landmark October 2015 synod speech, Pope Francis quoted an ancient maxim: Quod omnes tangit, ab omnibus tractari et approbari debet (“what affects everyone should be discussed and approved by all”). And because, as St. Benedict notes in his seventh-century rule, God sometimes speaks through the youngest in the community, enabling participation means paying special attention to the timid edges, to the unlikely places, to those outside.

“The second is that this business of consultation and deliberation is not separate from the life of prayer but intrinsic to it. The habitus of community decision-making is attentive listening to others, straining for the whispers of the Spirit even in the mouths of people we resent or disagree with. It calls, therefore, for giving time to all, in equal measure, for speaking honestly and boldly but not hammering others with our views, for sitting in peaceful, open silence so that we can hear what words do not always say and can often conceal. Synodality requires us to understand that we do not possess the truth, but that sometimes, when we put aside our emotions and agendas, it possesses us, overflowing the narrow channels of our thinking.”

By Austen Ivereigh, Commmonweal — Read more …

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Pope Francis wants every Catholic to have a say. Why haven’t US Catholics heard about it? / National Catholic Reporter

Success for bishops not focused on controlling power will be listening and honestly reporting the needs of the people.  

National Catholic Reporter

“Pope Francis’ plan is for ordinary Catholics to have their say. It begins with the coming synod, which opens in Rome on Oct. 9 and in every diocese in the world on Oct. 17.   

“The problem: No one seems to know about it. The bigger problem: U.S. bishops don’t seem to care. 

“It’s called ‘For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission.’ While Francis truly wants all Catholics to pray and talk about the needs of today’s church, his plan depends on diocesan participation. As the U.S. bishops fulminate over which Catholic politician can receive Communion, they’ve done little to plan for the worldwide discussion on the needs of the church. They were asked to get organized last May. They haven’t. 

“Here’s how things are supposed to work. Last May, Rome asked every bishop for the name of the person managing his diocesan synodal process. The bishop then is to open his local synod Oct. 17, collect input from parishes, and report to his national episcopal conference.  

By Phyllis Zagano, Religion News Service, in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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The Spirit in the Assembly: Preparing for the synod on synodality / Commonweal

“A global process set to mobilize millions and transform the world’s oldest and largest institution has so far registered as no more than a blip on the Catholic radar.”

Commonweal

“The most far-reaching event in the Catholic Church in my lifetime officially gets its start next month. It is Pope Francis’s boldest move yet, the historic shake-up that a Church brought low by sex-abuse scandals badly needs, and potentially the most transformative moment in Catholicism since the Second Vatican Council, which it seeks to embed permanently into the life of the Church. The two-year “synod on synodality,” launched in Rome on October 9 and in dioceses worldwide a week later, is set to mark Christianity forever.

“Yet who knows it is even happening? A global process set to mobilize millions and transform the world’s oldest and largest institution has so far registered as no more than a blip on the Catholic radar. Bishops briefed by Rome’s synod secretariat back in May have been mostly quiet about it, hiding behind cautious communiqués buried on websites, awaiting details, fearful of unleashing forces and expectations beyond their command.

“So we begin with a paradox. The path to the 2023 Synod in Rome, on the theme “For a Synodal Church: communion, participation and mission,” is designed to engage every diocese, every bishops’ conference, and every continental Church body. It will unleash the biggest popular consultation in history. It will require, as never before, the assembly of the People of God, in mass meetings at parishes and across dioceses around the world, who are being given “the ability to imagine a different future for the Church and her institutions, in keeping with the mission she has received,” in the words of the Preparatory Document released last week.”

By Austen Ivereigh, Commonweal — Read more …


Click here to read the Vatican news release announcing the 2023 Synod and to see list of links to Vatican and Voice of the Faithful resources to help understand the Synod.

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A radical shift away from a church with inflexible laws / La Croix International in National Catholic Reporter

“With the culmination of the Root and Branch Inclusive Synod in Bristol less than a month away, Sept. 5-12, there are early indications that the so-called ‘Bristol Text’ will be both deeply reflective and challenging to the current bishops’ position.

“The text will include brief, accessible statements on liturgical ministry, diversity, moral theology, and authority, backed by papers giving it historical and theological depth.

“Four international teams of distinguished theologians, jurists and thinkers, both lay and religious, have been meeting to consider the results of the synod’s year-long ‘journey of discernment.’

“Sources close to the process suggest that the Bristol Text will propose a radical shift away from a church that enshrines its teaching in inflexible laws, towards one that guides and enables the people of God to reflect for itself.”

By Jon Rosebank, La Croix International, in National Catholic Reporter — Read more …

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Criticism of Pope Francis rooted in misunderstanding of Vatican II / National Catholic Reporter

N.B.: This is part one of a three-part series discussing the theologies of the papacies of Pope Francis and Pope Paul VI. Links to parts two and three of the series are listed below.

The opposition to Pope Francis is unprecedented. There have been disagreements in the life of the church before: How could there not be? And, in recent times, we have even seen some cardinals voice disappointment or even disagreement with directives coming from Rome. For example, Belgian Cardinal Leo Joseph Suenens was not shy in voicing his concern about the manner in which the first synods of bishops after the Second Vatican Council were conducted. But claiming an apostolic exhortation is not magisterial? Publishing detailed challenges to the pope’s teaching? This is uncharted territory.

“I believe that the opposition to Francis is rooted in a flawed understanding of the post-conciliar era and, more specifically, where we are in the process of receiving the council. Francis, just last month, in an interview with Italian daily Avvenire, noted that it takes about 100 years to fully receive a council, and he is right. Some people thought that process was completed, and that they had mastered all the riddles of the Catholic faith in the post-conciliar age. They are very upset that their assumptions and some of their conclusions have been challenged.

“Last week marked the 51st anniversary of the close of Vatican II. In the past four years, we marked the opening of the council, commemorated the promulgation of key conciliar texts, held conferences to explore the meaning of the documents, and appropriately so, because Vatican II remains the most determinative event in the life of the Catholic church in our living memory.

By Michael Sean Winters, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this first article in Winters’ three-part series.

Click here to read the second article in this series, “Pope Paul VI’s greatness lies in his church leaderhsip after Vatican II.”

Click here to read the third article in this series, “Different popes, different personalities — and underlying continuity.”

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Turning talk into action / The Irish Catholic

The decision to convoke a diocesan synod back in September 2014 was a bold move by Limerick’s Bishop Brendan Leahy who at the time was little over a year in office.

“After all, until last weekend (Apr. 9-10) there had not been a synod in Ireland in over half a century, and none in Limerick for 70 years.

“Having come from Dublin it was an opportunity for Bishop Leahy to get a feel for his flock. More importantly still it was a clear indication that this was a bishop willing to listen and take heed of what his faithful were telling him.

“Fast forward 18 months and Bishop Leahy now describes the synod as an ‘incredible journey’ that began because he ‘wanted to hear from the people exactly what they are concerned about and what we can do in the future to improve our Church and how it serves the people.’

“‘The great thing about it is that it has been a people-led journey. The people decided what would be on the agenda and the people voted,’ Dr Leahy said.”

By Cathal Barry, The Irish Catholic — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Pope Francis reminds the synod that he has the last word / America

“‘The synod journey culminates in listening to the Bishop of Rome, (who is) called to speak authoritatively as ‘the Pastor and Teacher of all Christians,’ Pope Francis stated on October 17, on the eve of the final week of the synod on the family.

“In a keynote talk of the utmost importance delivered at the celebration for the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the synod of bishops, Francis spoke about ‘synodality in the church,’ the synod’s place within this, the relation between the synod and the Successor of Peter, and reminded the synod fathers that he has the last word.”

By Gerard O’Connell, America magazine — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Cardinals reportedly criticize synod in letter to Francis, but signatories disassociate / National Catholic Reporter

Disagreement at the highest levels of the Catholic church about the worldwide meeting of bishops on the family seemed to come to the fore Monday (Oct. 12) with publication of a private letter from several cardinals to Pope Francis, before a number of the prelates disassociated themselves from the document.

“The letter, reportedly given to the pontiff on the first day of the ongoing Synod of Bishops, sees the cardinals sharply criticize the meeting; even saying it ‘seems designed to facilitate predetermined results on important disputed questions.’

“But although the letter was first revealed Monday morning with reports of signatures from 13 cardinals, by afternoon at least four of the group had disassociated themselves from it — saying they had never signed the document or supported its arguments.

“The intrigue led Vatican spokesman Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi to tell reporters at a mid-day briefing that they should ‘have caution’ in reporting on the document, and verify each of the alleged signatures.”

By Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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Archbishop: Synod should reflect on possibly allowing female deacons / Catholic News Service

Canadian Archbishop Paul-Andre Durocher of Gatineau, Quebec, said the synod should reflect on the possibility of allowing for female deacons as it seeks ways to open up more opportunities for women in church life.

“Where possible, qualified women should be given higher positions and decision-making authority within church structures and new opportunities in ministry, he told Catholic News Service Oct. 6.

“Discussing a number of proposals he offered the synod fathers to think about, he said, ‘I think we should really start looking seriously at the possibility of ordaining women deacons because the diaconate in the church’s tradition has been defined as not being ordered toward priesthood but toward ministry.’

“Currently, the Catholic Church permits only men to be ordained as deacons. Deacons can preach and preside at baptisms, funerals and weddings, but may not celebrate Mass or hear confessions.

By Carol Glatz, Catholic News Service, in National Catholic Reporter — Click here to read the rest of this story.

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